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Post-Covid Leaving Cert changes to begin in 2025

Changes to the Leaving Certificate will begin in 2025 following years of disruption as a result of Covid-19, Minister for Education Norma Foley has said.

However, Minister Foley said that nothing will change for students sitting the State exam this year.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, she said this year’s students are the last cohort that did not have to take a Junior Certificate exam, she said.

“A very tapered and gradual return to normality is needed in terms of fairness,” Minister Foley said.

“If we look at the the achievement of students in 2019, compared to the concessions that they were given during Covid I think in the interest of fairness, in the interests of accuracy in an exam, it has to be done.”

She highlighted that other jurisdictions have already returned “at full tilt” to the way exams were previously conducted.

Many people felt the 7% grade inflation was too high when it was introduced during the pandemic, Ms Foley said, adding that this rate is expected to fall to around 5.5% next year.

She said Leaving Cert results will be released on Friday 23 August this year.

Ms Foley said she would engage with the State Examination Commission (SEC) to see when the Junior Certificate results might be released this year.

They will be able to make a clear adjudication when the Leaving Cert is completed, Ms Foley said.

The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) welcomed “much needed clarity regarding results”.

In a statement, the ISSU said more work is required on the dates to be announced with regards to UCAS/UNICAS applicants, as the dates still disadvantage them against their UK and EU counterparts, it said.

ISSU Uachtarán Shari Irfan said: “Having the date for the Leaving Certificate results provides a sense of clarity for students who are already under pressure on all fronts.

“It is interesting to note that the date for results have only been moved up two days earlier compared to last year.

“Irish students applying to UCAS or UNICAS are continuously left behind compared to their UK and European Counterparts.

“We will persistently work with the minister to ensure an earlier release of results.”

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